Keep your garden looking neat and sweet with these timely reminders.
1. Sow biennials Biennials are plants that are sown one year, then flower the following spring or summer. They’re fantastic for combining with spring-flowering bulbs and often make great cut flowers too. Sow the seed into trays filled with multipurpose compost and follow the instructions on the seed packets as to whether to cover the seeds or not. Water, label and place somewhere bright but out of the heat of the midday sun. Seedlings can dry out quickly at this time of year, so water regularly. They’ll be ready to prick out in a couple of weeks.
2. Trim box for Derby Day The traditional time to cut back the new growth of box and create crisp lines for your topiary is Derby Day (the first Saturday in June) but any time this month is fine. Put an old sheet around the base of your box plants to catch the clippings and make tidying up easier. Afterwards, water around the base of the plant, and try to avoid splashing the foliage.
3. Cut back early-flowering perennials Some spring-flowering perennials such as geraniums and oriental poppies may be looking a little tired by now, so cut back any growth to just above the crown of the plant. Give them a good water and a feed and you might even get a second flush of flowers.
4. Deadhead roses Keep repeat-flowering roses looking good and encourage more flowers by removing any dead or fading blooms. You can snip these off by cutting back to a leaf joint, or simply snap off the old rose head at the bulbous bit behind the flower where it joins the stem.
5. Make comfrey feed If you have a patch of comfrey now is the time to make a batch of homemade liquid plant food. Comfrey is high in nutrients that will help your plants to flourish. Wear gloves and a long-sleeved top to cut an armful of leaves. Pop them into a large bucket, fill with water and cover. After four weeks the brew will be ready to use – it’s a bit smelly. Remove the decaying leaves and pop them on the compost heap. Dilute the feed in a watering can, using one part comfrey liquid to ten parts water.
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